Why would you buy a tablet other than an iPad? Obviously, some don’t care for Apple’s locked-in system and others like the way users can dig more deeply into the workings of Android. Good enough reasons, sure, but the truth is that until the day dawns when a tablet is of comparable specification, but substantially cheaper than the iPad, most customers will stick with Apple.
Good morning, Google Nexus 10.
Google's Nexus 10 Android tablet is yet another collaboration with Samsung
The price difference between the latest 16GB Wi-Fi only iPad and a comparable Nexus 10 is substantial – £399 for Apple’s fondleslab and £319 for Google’s Samsung built model. And the Nexus 10 is no cheap knock-off either. The 10.1in screen, for starters, is actually higher-resolution than Apple’s much-trumpeted Retina display, or even a Full HD TV screen. The processor here is powerful, the RAM generous and the design is up to snuff too – it certainly couldn't be mistaken for an aluminium encased Apple product.
Indeed, this tablet looks like it could – finally – be a contender for the title of iPad killer. Build quality is good, for a start. The rubber back is there for comfort, as are the rounded corners and curved surfaces – there’s barely a straight line in the whole machine, apart from the screen itself. It’s designed for landscape use primarily. It’s a little longer than the iPad but it’s narrower, thinner and lighter.
Docking pins on side for accessory use, but no micro SD storage expansion
The display is gorgeous: bright, vivid and achingly pin-sharp. Which is all very well but there’s no point to it if it knackers battery life. And since Android is known for draining battery life through too many background programs running, say, that could have been a possibility. Happily, though, the Nexus 10 runs pretty much as long as an iPad, that is around 9 hours in my experience, a good deal longer than the 7 hours claimed.
Even so, turning the screen to full brightness meant there was a noticeable hit to battery level, something you're more likely to notice with extended use, such as watching a movie. Video playback, by the way, with a high-definition source, was impressive. While initially jittery when the file opened, playing Transformers: Dark of the Moon continued smoothly and flawlessly. Incidentally, the Nexus 10 has support for a number of mainstream codecs including MP4, H.264, DivX and WMV.
Viewing is geared mainly for landscape use
Movie buffs also take note – the sound on this tablet is way better than on rivals, thanks to the long, front-mounted stereo speakers running down the short edges. On the iPad, for instance, it’s easy to muffle the sound if you’re holding the tablet on the edge or back. Here, there’s no problem, it comes booming out, loud and clear.